Dan Rafael: Tyson Fury

Fury vows silence before Chisora rematch

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
Tyson FuryJordan Mansfield/Getty ImagesHeavyweight contender Tyson Fury found a way to not be fined for obscene language.

Here we go again. On Monday, the promotion for the rescheduled (yet again) rematch between British heavyweight contenders Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora kicked off. Again.

But it appears that the fighters won’t be doing nearly as much smack-talking as they have been doing.

Fury was so off the rails at the original news conference for the July fight that the British Boxing Board of Control -- the agency that oversees boxing in England -- fined him 15,000 pounds. So when the boxers met again on Monday at the news conference to restart the promotion, Chisora was more restrained than usual and Fury was -- amazingly! -- silent.

Fury showed up at the news conference with his mouth taped closed, with “BBB of C ?????” written across the tape in reference to his fine. He vowed to remain silent until the fight.

Undoubtedly, British bookmakers will be taking action on whether he can keep quiet for that long.

The fight will take place Nov. 29 at the ExCel Arena in London, the third date for the fight. It was originally scheduled for July 26 in Manchester, England, but it was postponed until Nov. 22 after Chisora fractured his left hand during his final sparring session eight days before the fight. Then it was moved to a week later to get out of the way of a big soccer match.

If you are at all familiar with these guys, you know they like to talk. And talk. And talk. And generally say nasty things about one another. And make outlandish predictions about what they will do when they get their hands on each other.

They did plenty of talking in the months leading up to the July date before it was canceled, and they continued even after it was postponed.

But with Fury promising to remain silent, his uncle and trainer, Peter Fury, did the talking Monday.

“The board wanted us to tone it down, so here's Tyson -- the board dummy,” Peter Fury said.

All Fury did was gesture that he’d knock out Chisora in two rounds.

Chisora was also calmer than usual.

“I will knock out him, plain and simple,” he said. “I’m not saying what round. All I’m saying is he’s going to be knocked out. Bring on Nov. 29. I’ll show everyone what I would have done to him in July. I’ll be in fantastic shape come fight night, and he’s looking in good shape himself, so the better man will win and that will be me.”

Chisora’s European heavyweight title is at stake, as is the vacant British title. The winner will become a mandatory challenger for world champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Fury (22-0, 16 KOs), 26, and Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs), 30, first met in July 2011 in a much-hyped showdown and engaged in an exciting fight, although Fury pounded his way to a clear decision win against an obviously out-of-shape Chisora -- who suffered his first loss -- to win the British and Commonwealth titles.

Haymon signs more fighters

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Manager Al Haymon’s signing binge continues. He has signed welterweight Roberto Garcia and middleweight Caleb Truax, Sam Watson, Haymon’s right-hand man, told ESPN.com. They join a stable that includes more than 50 fighters, many of whom Haymon has signed this year. Garcia and Truax are both being featured on this week’s edition of “Friday Night Fights” on ESPN2 in Chicago. Garcia (35-3, 23 KOs) takes on Breidis Prescott (27-5, 20 KOs) in the main event and Truax (23-1-2, 14 KOs) meets Derek Ennis (24-4-1, 13 KOs) in the co-feature. Both fights are scheduled for 10 rounds.

• With the postponement on Monday of Saturday’s heavyweight rematch between British contenders Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora because Chisora fractured his left hand in his final sparring session, AWE, which was due to televise the card in the United States, has dropped its coverage plans. Although the Fury-Chisora II main event is off, the card is still going on but will not have American television coverage now.

• Iron Mike Productions announced a card that will take place at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Aug. 8 (Fox Sports 1) that will be headlined by hometown favorite Samuel Vasquez (15-0, 11 KOs) facing James Stevenson (21-0, 14 KOs) of Baltimore in a 10-round welterweight fight. Ievgen Khytrov (5-0, 5 KOs), a 2012 Olympian from Ukraine, is also on the card against Willie Fortune (17-1, 8 KOs) in a six-round middleweight fight.
HBO, Showtime and ESPN all could have had the fight and didn’t pick it up. It’s a fight that would have been right in the Epix wheelhouse, but that network is now out of the boxing business.

Thank goodness for AWE (formerly WealthTV), which has been picking up various fights from Europe and on Thursday announced that it had made a deal for one of the most interesting fights of the summer.

It will offer live coverage of the all-British Tyson Fury-Dereck Chisora heavyweight rematch on July 26 from the Phones4u Arena in Manchester, England. The fight will also be streamed on the AWE website, but only available to existing members, according to the network.

The fight is for Chisora’s European title and the vacant British title but the bigger stakes are the fact the winner will also become a mandatory challenger for world champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Fury (22-0, 16 KOs), 25, and Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs), 30, first met in July 2011 in a much-hyped showdown and they engaged in an exciting fight, although Fury pounded his way to a clear decision against an obviously out of shape Chisora -- who suffered his first loss -- to win the British and Commonwealth titles.

Fury and Chisora, who have relentlessly trash-talked each other, appeared on the same card on Feb. 15 and each recorded victories to pave their way into the rematch.

"We are ecstatic to bring this five-star fight to the fans,” AWE CEO Robert Herring said in announcing the acquisition. “This fight has so many storylines that range from the great first fight to two guys that really dislike each other to the belts and of course a shot at Klitschko. There will be a winner in the ring but the big winners will be the fans of the United States who will get to witness this can't miss heavyweight fight on AWE.”
Tyson FuryMartin McNeil/Getty ImagesDereck Chisora pulled no punches in describing what he plans to do in his rematch with Tyson Fury.
You can always count on heavyweight Dereck Chisora for some quality smack talk before a fight.

Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs), who will be defending his European title, will face fellow British contender Tyson Fury (22-0, 19 KOs) on July 26 at the Phones 4 U Arena in Manchester.

The fight is a rematch of Fury's unanimous-decision win in 2011. But Chisora remains confident despite losing the first fight, and three times since -- including twice in 2012 in a heavyweight world title fight to Vitali Klitschko in 2012 and a fifth-round knockout against David Haye. And he told everyone just how so at a media workout on Thursday.

Chisora said he plans on chopping down the 6-foot-9 Fury with body blows.

"He's a big guy and I'll be looking to smash his body up with my punches," Chisora said. "He'll definitely fall from a body punch. He won't be able to stand the heat that I'll be bringing. I'll be chopping him down like a tree.

"There'll be no place for him to hide in that ring and I'll be hunting him down until he has got nowhere to go and I'll nail him. By the time I've finished with him he'll be the same size as me. I don't want to hear any excuses from him after the fight. He'd better be ready because he's getting knocked out."

The winner of the bout will also become one of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's mandatory challengers.

Still no word yet on any American television coverage of the bout.
When you think of a big fight, one of the first questions is where can I watch it? What network? Is it pay-per-view?

Rarely do you hear anyone these days ask, where can I hear it? What radio station is it on?

In an era long gone, radio was the way people used to follow major fights. Ask the old-timers about sitting around the family radio and listening to Joe Louis’ heavyweight championship fights.

Radio coverage of boxing in the United States is long dead and buried. In Great Britain, there is occasional radio coverage, but it’s rare. But it will be back for the July 26 heavyweight rematch between Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora.

The title eliminator at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, will be broadcast live on talkSPORT, one of the major sports stations in the world.

The station said it is looking to build boxing momentum after Saturday’s super middleweight rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves drew a British-record boxing crowd of 80,000 to Wembley Stadium in London.

“The sport is a huge draw for our listeners, and the clash between Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury is one of the most hotly anticipated of the year,” talkSPORT program director Liam Fisher said in making the announcement Tuesday. “After broadcasting every match of the World Cup live, this will be a fantastic exclusive broadcast on talkSPORT.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a regular guest on various talkSPORT shows to discuss boxing.

Fury, Chisora calling for a KO

May, 22, 2014
May 22
When heavyweight contender Tyson Fury outpointed Dereck Chisora in their first fight in July 2011, it was an entertaining fight but there were no knockdowns, much less a knockout.

But as the British contenders head into their July 26 rematch at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, the outspoken big men are predicting knockouts.

[+] EnlargeDereck Chisora and Tyson Fury
Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesHeavyweights Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora will meet in a rematch of their 2011 bout on July 26 in Manchester, England.
Even though Fury won the first fight with relative ease, that has not dampened Chisora's confidence going into the rematch, in which his European title will be on the line.

"I'm not going to cry over spilt milk," Chisora said. "I'm looking to the future now. He's going to get knocked out. He said he's going to knock me out in Round 5 but he's going to get knocked out in the first round."

Fury (22-0, 16 KOs), an even bigger trash talker than Chisora (20-4, 13 KOs), was quite emotional when they held the news conference to announce the fight.

"Listen, I'm Tyson Fury, I'm the best heavyweight on the planet," Fury shouted. "This idiot is getting knocked spark out and I'm sick to death of this. This motherf----- is going to sleep."

Chisora is on a five-fight winning streak since back-to-back losses to David Haye and Vitali Klitschko (in a world title fight). Chisora's trainer, Don Charles, said there is no way he will lose a second time to Fury.

"This is must-win fight for Dereck, no two ways about it, he knows it and I know it," Charles said. "We can't come off second best. We can't afford to lose to Fury twice. I cannot and will not let that happen. Dereck knows what is at stake and he is completely and totally focused on this fight. I can't fault his dedication in training and I firmly believe that he will come away the victor.

"Dereck's mind set is completely different for this fight. He's more determined than I've ever seen him before. This fight is his life and he is training the hardest I've ever seen him train. He'll be in the best shape ever and Tyson had better not be preparing for the Dereck he beat."

Thompson has eyes on Fury

March, 24, 2014
Mar 24
Tyson FuryAP Photo/Seth WenigVeteran heavyweight Tony Thompson wants his chance at shutting the mouth of Tyson Fury.
Heavyweight contender Tony Thompson of Washington, D.C. twice shocked David Price, the rising British prospect, with back-to-back knockouts last year in Price's hometown of Liverpool.

He would love a chance to do the same to Tyson Fury, another unbeaten Brit.

Thompson, who twice fought for the heavyweight title but was knocked out both times by Wladimir Klitschko, pulled a mild upset on Saturday in Turkey when he outpointed former title challenger and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Odlanier Solis.

Even though Fury (22-0, 16 KOs), 25, has a July 26 rematch on tap with countryman Dereck Chisora, Thompson has an eye on him.

"[Fury] is a loudmouth guy," Thompson said. "He's talking his way into big fights and hasn't done anything. At least David Price's people had the gumption and balls to put him in with a live heavyweight. Tyson has never been in the ring with anyone like me.

"All of his opponents pose a threat to him simply because he can't fight. But they haven't put him in there with anyone who is capable of exposing him, although a few people almost did it. If [Steve] Cunningham was a legitimate heavyweight he would have stopped Fury easily. A couple of other guys would have beat his ass."

Cunningham, a former cruiserweight titlist, had Fury in big trouble when they met last April. Cunningham dropped the much bigger Fury in the second round but Fury, 44 pounds heavier, rallied to stop Cunningham in the seventh round.

"[Fury has] just been mouthing off about me and I'm the type of guy if you want to talk that trash, let's do it," Thompson said. "I'm not running from anybody. If he wants to do it, let's do it. Tell [trainer and uncle] Peter Fury, or whoever is running the show there.

"I think it would be a good fight for the fans. He's not that great of a fighter but he's a huge guy and will pose a challenge to anybody, but I will expose him easily. As a matter of fact, I think it's an easier fight than the David Price fight."

The 42-year-old Thompson (39-4, 26 KOs) surely would have no issue returning to England to fight Fury. Thompson has fought overseas in five consecutive fights -- the rematch with Klitschko in Germany, both fights with Price, a decision loss last summer to Kubrat Pulev in Germany in a title eliminator and then Saturday's win against Solis.
Fury-Chisora is supposed to be an eliminator for a shot at Klitschko, but the winner could be waiting for a while because Pulev is supposed to be the next mandatory challenger to face him.

Solis, Thompson need wins

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
It seems there is finally some movement in the heavyweight division as the contenders are facing each other.

Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola will square off in a May 10 rematch for a vacant title. Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora are fighting a rematch on July 26, with the winner ticketed for a mandatory shot against champ Wladimir Klitschko. Czar Glazkov outpointed Tomasz Adamek in a highly entertaining fight on Saturday night. And a fight between unbeaten up-and-comers Bryant Jennings and Mike Perez is in discussions.

There is yet another heavyweight fight on the schedule, pitting two of the better big men in the division.

Former title challenger Odlanier Solis, a 2004 Olympian for Cuba who has since defected, and two-time challenger Tony Thompson of Washington, D.C., will square off Saturday in Tekirdag, Turkey -- the country where Solis' promoter, Ahmet Oner, is from. Solis turned pro in 2007 and lives in Miami.

Solis, 33, and Thompson, 42, are both aiming to put themselves back into the title picture.

Solis (20-1, 13 KOs) suffered a first-round knockout loss to then-titlist Vitali Klitschko when Solis’ knee gave out in their 2011 title fight. After multiple surgeries on his knee, Solis has won three in a row.

Thompson (38-4, 26 KOs) got mandatory title shots against Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and 2012 and was knocked out both times. But Thompson scored two big wins last year by knocking out British hope David Price in two upsets.

Thompson lost a decision to Kubrat Pulev in his last fight in August, which was an eliminator to become Wladimir’s mandatory.

Solis and Thompson both really need to win Saturday to keep themselves on the fringes of landing a big fight.

“This is a do-or-die fight. If Solis beats Thompson, I will lead him to another world title fight. But if he loses, it might be all over,” Oner said.

Said Solis, “Tony Thompson doesn't know what's coming for him. My only goal is to become heavyweight champion of the world. And I won't let anybody stop me on my way."

Fury, Chisora could meet again

January, 8, 2014
Jan 8
Fury-ChisoraMartin McNeil/Getty ImagesTyson Fury topped Dereck Chisora in 2011, and the hope is that the heavies will go at it again in June.

In July 2011, Tyson Fury outpointed an out-of-shape Dereck Chisora in a crowd-pleasing fight between two of Great Britain's best heavyweights. If things work out, the world contenders could be on their way to a June rematch.

Chisora (19-4, 13 KOs) has won four fights in a row since a knockout loss to former world titleholder David Haye in July 2012, and he is aiming to win a fifth consecutive fight on Feb. 15 when he defends his European title against Ukraine's Andriy Rudenko (24-0, 16 KOs) at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Fury (21-0, 15 KOs), whose career has been stalled since last April because Haye pulled out twice from their scheduled fight, could appear on the card as well, with the idea being that if he and Chisora both win they could meet again in what would be a big fight.

Frank Warren, Chisora's promoter, announced on Wednesday that he had come to an agreement with Fury promoter Mick Hennessy for Fury to be on the card.

"The plan is for both of them to come through their fights on the night and then the pair will meet in a massive rematch in June," Warren said. "Because it's the biggest fight out there for them and it's a fight that the public want to see, the only place for it to happen would be a football stadium, a real summer extravaganza between the big men of British boxing, before the World Cup. Tyson beat Dereck a few years ago, and since then both of them have come on. Tyson has done fantastic, winning both here and abroad, and has marked himself as one of the world's most exciting heavyweights.

"Dereck's performances have been spot-on recently, his weight is right and so is his attitude and focus, and he's a real handful for any heavyweight out there. I'm already excited by it. Chisora versus Fury is the biggest fight out there and it could certainly be a world title eliminator. But plans can be upset, though. Chisora has a by-no-means-easy fight against a hard and undefeated Ukrainian in Rudenko."

Hennessy said that although the plan is being considered, it isn't set just yet, contrary to Warren's announcement.

"We have had a verbal offer from [British boxing subscription network] BoxNation for Tyson to appear on three of their shows, but as yet have not received any contract to look at and consider," Hennessy said. "Until something is agreed in writing and signed into, myself, [Fury manager and uncle] Peter Fury and Tyson are still keeping our options open. We were told it would be 48 hours before we even receive any paperwork to look at, and we are still awaiting any such communication.”

Super middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders was supposed to appear on the Feb. 15 card to defend his British and Commonwealth middleweight titles, but he has withdrawn because a hand injury suffered in his previous fight is still not healed.

Could Wilder replace Haye?

November, 22, 2013
On Sunday, when former heavyweight titlist David Haye pulled out of his Feb. 8 all-British showdown with Tyson Fury -- the second time he pulled out, this time because of a shoulder injury that might force him to retire -- Fury promoter Mick Hennessy had a great idea for a replacement.

He got on the phone Monday with Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer to gauge his interest in making a deal for Deontay Wilder, the 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and most notable American heavyweight hope, to fill in.

“Mick called me up and said that Haye had dropped out of the fight in February and said he’d be interested in Deontay filling in, saying they could still go on pay-per-view [in the United Kingdom], that it would still be a big fight over there,” Schaefer said. “He said the Brits like Deontay and that he made a good impression over there when he fought Audley Harrison.”

In April, Wilder, traveled to England and blitzed the shot 2000 British Olympic gold medalist in 70 seconds.

“I told Mick that I’m open to doing the fight and to make me an offer,” Schaefer said. “He said, ‘Let me think about it and I’ll call you back. I need to talk to [broadcaster] Sky [Sports] and I’ll call you back with an offer [Sunday] night or Monday.’”

And then came silence. Schaefer said he has not heard from Hennessy since -- no call, no offer, no nothing.

“When I didn’t hear from him Monday, I called him on Tuesday and he doesn’t answer his phone,” Schaefer said. “He didn’t call Wednesday, he didn’t call Thursday and he didn’t call Friday. What he should know is if the deal is right, we’re happy to go over there to England for the fight. But he hasn’t called. We’re waiting. But I told him we could do a 50-50 deal. I’ll bring U.S. television, he brings British television, we put everything in the pot.”

I think it would be a tremendous fight and love that Wilder is willing to travel. It’s a match of two up-and-coming heavyweights, both of whom are huge. Fury (21-0, 15 KOs), 25, is 6-foot-9, 254 pounds while Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs), 28 and far less tested than Fury, is 6-7, 225 pounds.

Schaefer said he is disappointed that Hennessy teased him with the call and never got back to him as promised.

“Tyson Fury and his team must have realized that Tyson would get knocked out and they will go for a safer opponent,” Schaefer said.

Fury fires back at Haye

September, 25, 2013
David HayeClive Rose/Getty ImagesHeavyweight David Haye will have to wait until Feb. 8 before getting in the ring with Tyson Fury.
When the heavyweight showdown between big-mouth British heavyweights David Haye, a former titleholder, and Tyson Fury, a rising contender, was rescheduled on Tuesday, Haye made the announcement and had a lot to say about his opponent.

None of it was very nice, as usual, not to mention that Haye broke the agreement with the Fury camp that, as a 50-50 promotion, they would mutually agree on what and when information is announced.

Naturally, Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) wasn't about to let Haye get in the final word, and he blasted back on Wednesday.

"I'm so glad to have this fight rescheduled. In my opinion, he's a classless prima donna, a diva, a no-good wannabe Bollywood actor and I can't wait to put him in his place," Fury said.

The fight was originally scheduled to take place Saturday at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, but it was postponed to Feb. 8 (at the same venue) because Haye suffered a gash over his left eye during his final sparring Friday and required six stitches.

"There's lots of honest and hard-working people in this world, and I believe I'm going to punish and poleax this money-grabbing cry baby for all of them," Fury continued. "He's getting knocked spark out. I'm tired of him. He said he was going to knock [heavyweight champion Wladimir] Klitschko out and did nothing. Now he's giving me the same talk. Why do people believe him? He can dish it out, but can't take it.

"Mr. Toemaker, your excuses are boring. You say you're going to 'expose me,' but the difference, Mr. Excusemaker, is that every time I say I'm going to go out and do something, I go out and do it and that's exactly what I was going to do this Saturday and 100 percent going to do on Feb. 8. Nothing has changed. I'm still going to smash your face in, no excuses.”

So I guess we have five months of their bickering to listen to.

Mick Hennessy, Fury's promoter, also had his say: "I've pushed for this fight to be back on and I'm delighted it is as I know this is a fight that Tyson wins in style by way of the big KO. David Haye really needs to step up as a man and make sure he's there on Feb. 8, otherwise he will have zero credibility and will probably have to emigrate by public demand."

This is the second fight since June that Haye (26-2, 24 KOs) has canceled or pulled out of. He was supposed to fight Manuel Charr this past summer but pulled out, claiming a hand injury.

Fury-Haye fight still a possibility?

September, 23, 2013
With former heavyweight titlist David Haye having suffered a cut over his left eye and this Saturday's much-anticipated all-British showdown with Tyson Fury now off, it's unclear when and if the fight will be rescheduled. But the camps are trying to work things out.

[+] EnlargeDavid Haye and Tyson Fury
Shaun Botterill/Getty ImagesAfter initially turning away from the notion of rescheduling Saturday's fight with David Haye, Tyson Fury is reconsidering his options.
Initially, Peter Fury, Tyson's uncle and trainer, said his fighter would move on and look for some other fight. Clearly, they were very frustrated by the situation.

Now it seems as though Fury's side has calmed down and is trying to reschedule the bout, which isn't always easy when you consider arena availability, which needs to be matched with the Sky Sports television schedule in the United Kingdom. Also, HBO had bought the American rights to the bout, and the network has a packed fourth-quarter schedule.

"We only found out about this situation around mid-day on Saturday morning, only about half an hour before Hayemaker [Promotions] sent out their official release announcing [the cut]," said Mick Hennessy, Fury's promoter. "Since then, we have been working around the clock with Team Fury, Hayemaker and Sky in an attempt to resolve the situation and reschedule a new date as quickly as possible.

"We have looked into a number of possibilities and have been left very frustrated, as due to these circumstances beyond our control there is nothing that can be done to salvage [Saturday]. But this is a super fight that the fans deserve to see, and Tyson is eager to deliver for them."

Hennessy said that Fury was willing to take on another opponent on short notice on Saturday, even suggesting American power-hitting prospect Deontay Wilder.

"To be fair to Tyson as well, he has done everything in his power to keep this date alive for the fans, even agreeing to fight Deontay Wilder [if Team Wilder were to agree]," Hennessy said. "But this fight at short notice was obviously not considered to be box office."

A Fury-Wilder showdown would certainly be interesting, but to make that kind of fight on a week's notice was not remotely realistic. Knowing that was the case, I have my doubts that Fury was serious but, hey, it was a nice idea.

Ideally, Haye-Fury will be rescheduled as quickly as possible.

"We are very disappointed and can imagine how you are all feeling about this as fans, and hopefully we will be able to announce further information as soon as possible," Hennessy said.

Haye-Fury finds U.S. TV home

August, 27, 2013
Tyson Fury, David HayeClive Rose/Getty ImagesAmerican fans will be able to watch the David Haye-Tyson Fury fight on TV.

Since the fight was made it was unclear where American fans could watch the very interesting all-British heavyweight showdown between rising heavyweight contender Tyson Fury and former titleholder David Haye, which takes place on Sept. 28 in Manchester, England.

Worry no more.

HBO has made a deal for the American rights and will broadcast the scheduled 12-round fight between Fury and Haye, who have talked smack throughout the promotion, as part of an unprecedented tripleheader from three countries.

“Haye versus Fury is going to be entertaining,” said HBO Sports president Ken Hershman, who decided to go after the fight even though he already had two other bouts scheduled from two other locations. “It features two heavyweights who as much as they want to win also don't want to lose to this fighter in particular.”

The network has televised plenty of split-site doubleheaders in its 40 years of boxing coverage, but this will be the first time it has had three fights from three locations.

"HBO subscribers love big events and that is what we plan on delivering on Sept. 28. Three exciting bouts from three different countries,” Hershman said.

I agree with him. After opening with Haye-Fury on a few hours’ delay (no decision has been made yet whether HBO will also air it live in the afternoon), the telecast will shift to Montreal for light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson’s first defense against former titlist Tavoris Cloud followed by former middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s return to the ring after a year off to face Brian Vera in a super middleweight fight from Carson, Calif.

When Fury-Haye was announced, I thought the card might end up headlining an independent afternoon pay-per-view. Fury promoter Mick Hennessy was in talks trying to make a deal and it made sense, because I didn’t think HBO would have room to accommodate a third fight coming from Europe.

I’m glad I was wrong. As Hershman said, and I couldn’t agree more: “Great value night for boxing fans.”

All three of these fights have a chance to be highly entertaining and I’m glad to see Hershman go all in on a tripleheader that, while it could be logistically complicated, has a real chance to deliver in triplicate.

Pulev set for eliminator vs. Thompson

August, 20, 2013
Bulgarian heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev is one win away from getting a shot at the title when he meets veteran American contender Tony Thompson.

They square off in a final eliminator on Saturday in Schwerin, Germany with the winner becoming a mandatory challenger for one of the belts held by Wladimir Klitschko.

Pulev (17-0, 9 KOs) is 32 already, but was a top amateur and only been a pro since 2009. He holds the European heavyweight title, although likely will vacate it since he probably won’t be able to make a mandatory defense against Dereck Chisora by the deadline because he is fighting on Saturday.

A potential shot at the heavyweight title, however, is much bigger anyway than defending the European title. Pulev said he is not concerned by Thompson’s tremendous experience advantage, which includes two title shots already at Klitschko (although both resulted in knockout losses) and back-to-back knockout wins against England’s David Price.

“That does not fluster me in the slightest,” Pulev said. “I am motivated to finally step into the ring again and get my job done. My aim is to become a world champion."

Pulev has not fought since September 2012, when he dominated previously undefeated Alexander Ustinov en route to an 11th-round knockout in a semifinal eliminator. Problems putting together the final eliminator, with various opponents dropping out, have kept Pulev on the shelf for almost a year.

Tomasz Adamek and Tyson Fury (who got a much bigger payday to face David Haye next month) both declined opportunities to face him in the final eliminator.

“I guess that they have fear of losing against me,” Pulev said. “Maybe these fighters see an easier chance to get a big fight. I have no problem with it as I just want to go toe-to-toe with fighters who have the ambition to go up against the best and Thompson is somebody like that.”

Thompson (38-3, 26 KOs), 41, of Washington, D.C., polished off Price via fifth-round knockout on July 6 for his second win against him this year. Then the southpaw quickly accepted the offer to face Pulev, hoping to land yet another shot at Klitschko, who is scheduled for an Oct. 5 bout against Alexander Povetkin.

“This is really huge for me,” Thompson said. “That would be third time’s the charm [against Klitschko]. My confidence is running high after having stopped Price not once but twice this year. It was also good to see that my body is still able to compete at such a high level. This fight is going to be over inside eight rounds with me being the winner.”

Pulev is just as confident.

“I not only have to beat him, I must beat him,” he said. “It does not matter if I win on points or make it an early night. Afterwards, nobody can talk about a worthy world title challenger without using the name Kubrat Pulev.”

Fury moves camp to Belgium

August, 15, 2013
Tayson FuryPress Association/AP ImagesIn order to avoid distractions, Tyson Fury will train in Belgium for his Sept. 28 bout with David Haye.
One of the more intriguing heavyweight fights on the schedule takes place Sept. 28 in Manchester, England, where British trash talkers David Haye, a former titleholder, and rising contender Tyson Fury face off.

The fight (no U.S. television coverage slated -- yet) is a particularly big deal in England, so in order to train without too many distractions the 24-year-old Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) is preparing in Belgium.

"You can't really train across in England with all the media attention," said Peter Fury, Tyson's uncle and trainer. "Over here there are no distractions, only training. No wives or kids. We are strictly business and on Sept. 28th you can expect to see the best Tyson Fury to date."

Although Fury owns a win against former title challenger Dereck Chisora and stopped former cruiserweight titlist Steve Cunningham in the seventh round in his last fight in April, Haye (26-2, 24 KOs), 32, is easily his most formidable opponent, although he has been very inactive. Since being routed in a world title unification bout by Wladimir Klitschko in July 2011, Haye has only fought once, a fifth-round knockout 13 months ago against Chisora (who went the distance with Fury).

"It would be a mistake for Haye to overlook this fight," Peter Fury said. "Tyson is a consummate professional and already in really good shape. He has been switched on and focused for other fights, but for this one he is very motivated. He already trains all the time and he's in very good condition, so it's just a case of honing him. He's already very strong, so come fight time he'll be peaking after a good eight-week camp."